Obituary: Hans C. Palmer

Grandfather, former Pomona College vice president, dean, retired professor emeritus

“We mourn the loss of Hans C. Palmer, who died on May 26, 2023, at the Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, Virginia,” his family shared. He had been ill for the previous six weeks.

Hans’ parents, Hans Peter Palmer and Dagny Ella Stockel Palmer, immigrated to the United States from Denmark in 1923. They eventually settled in New York City, where Hans was born on September 21, 1933.

When he was 5, the family moved to Southern California, which remained his real home for the rest of his life. He graduated from L.A. High School in 1950. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1954 and 1955 respectively, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

After serving as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he returned to U.C. Berkeley as a graduate student in economics, earning his Ph.D. in 1965.

In 1962 he accepted a position at Pomona College teaching economics. From 1998 until 2001 he served as vice president and dean of the college. During his tenure he received four Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for excellence in teaching. He remained at Pomona until his retirement as professor emeritus in 2008, after which the school’s economics department dedicated a classroom in his name.

While at Berkeley, he met Beverly Wilson, a graduate student in English. The two were married on June 28, 1963, and lived in Claremont — where they raised their two children, Margaret and David — until 2021.

He was a gourmet cook, a lover of fine wines, and enjoyed travel, particularly by train. He adored animals of all kinds, especially dogs. The California coast was his favorite place on earth.

“Hans always found time for other people: students, colleagues, friends, and family,” his family added. “His grandchildren can attest to his generosity of spirit as well as his love for a good ice cream cone.”

He was predeceased by his parents; an infant daughter Jane in 1967; and his brother-in-law John Wilson in 2021.

He is survived by his wife Beverly Wilson Palmer; daughter Margaret Woodruff, her husband Charles Woodruff, their daughters Carolyn, Beatrice, and Eleanor; son David Palmer and his wife Stacey Tevlin and their sons, Silas and Abraham; sister-in-law Anne M. Wilson; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Thomas and Grace Wilson; along with cousins in Denmark and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. on June 28 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, followed by a reception. Interment will occur at a later date in the Wilson Family Plot at Greenfield Cemetery in Greenfield, Ohio. A celebration of  life will be held in the fall in Claremont.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Hans C. Palmer may be made to Pomona College at; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia at; or the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Arlington, Virginia at


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